Hearing 29/7/2003: Yoni Ben Artzi


Started 11.30am

Testimony of Colonel Shlomi Simchi, Chairman of Conscience Committee


SS : Shlomi Simchi

MS: Defense Attorney Michael Sfard

Judge: Colonel Avi Levy, Chief Judge, Military Tribunal

YBA: Defendant Yoni Ben-Artzi


MS: Did your committee ever release a conscript from service for reasons of conscience?

SS: To my recollection, no.

MS: Your committee twice rejected YBA's requests.

SS: Yes.

MS: Do you know what happened to YBA after your committee rejected his requests?

SS: I know the details.

MS: He's been in prison for half a year, and then half a year in detention at a military base. Do you have any second thoughts about your decision?

SS: …My opinions haven't changed since then.

MS: Are you aware of the ICCPR (International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights), which Israel signed, and which caused the creation of your committee?

SS: No.

MS: Do you know that the committee you headed was created in 1995, to fulfil Israel's obligations under an International Treaty?

SS: No.

Yoni's Honesty/Pacifism

MS: As regards Yoni Ben Artzi. Appeared before your committee, June 3,2001. Did you know anything about him before?

SS: No I did not know anything about him. He was in committee before but it was delayed.

MS: How do you check truth of what is said?

SS: Ask him to present his belief, and do not interfere, then ask him questions,specifically.

Try to check frankness/honesty and depth of views in discussion. End of this process, only when the applicant finishes his statement and there is nothing left to say.

MS: Cites what YBA said – I'm generally a pacifist, and as such cannot join a violent organization.

SS: This is the beginning, this is not enough to say ‘I'm a pacifist’. Declaration alone not enough.

MS: This declaration does not contradict any of your own criteria?

SS: Agrees.

MS: What is a pacifist according to the committee? What does the applicant have to show to convince you?

SS: First, definition of a pacifist ; but then must have more about definition, must know about way of life and his beliefs.

MS: I was asking something else, what is a pacifist.

SS: Pacifist is a person who is against war, who is for peace, against violence and objects to join an organization that solves conflicts by force.

MS: You had before you his application; this is exactly what he said. That he believes in this set of beliefs according to your definition. You asked him how does a country survive with no army? Is one of your parameters in finding CO, that he can intellectually defend himself?

Judge: So person intellectually inferior cannot defend himself as a pacifist?

SS: Certainly. We do not attack him, but ask questions. Want to check if he is frank/telling the truth. Can take a letter from the website about pacifism and claim that they are pacifists. So we have to check they definitely know about pacifism. What is his way of life, way he behaves. How was he at school, way behaved at school, way reacted. If somebody who argues about his principles with society, with those around him.

MS: Does it mean he is not a pacifist, if he has various principles and argues a lot?. Is it relevant?

SS: Point that we try to answer deeply. Why becomes argumentative person.

MS: In 20 minute discussion – this is a thorough understanding of his way of life?

SS: Not less than an hour.

MS: But your protocol is a page and a half, it is not less than an hour? YBA says it was about a 20 minute discussion of the committee.

SS: No, not less than an hour. Estimated that it was longer than ½ an hour.

MS: reads: "" My pacifism is an instinctive feeling, a feeling that possesses me because the murder of people is disgusting. My attitude is not derived from any intellectual theory but is based on my deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred…I can rationalize this reaction, but it will be an a-posteriori thought""... What do you think of this quotation of Albert Einstein?

SS: It is individual to Albert Einstein.

MS: But he says his pacifism comes from the heart. It is like a religion. You ask a religious man to prove logically that God exists?

SS: You be surprised. A religious person can persuade you.

MS: Yoni says, in your protocol , that if there was civil service, he would have done it. But not agree to serve under auspices of the army. ""I Am ready to do civil service, but not hospital within the army"". How do you understand this answer?

SS: Not what he meant to say. Cannot detach this answer from what he said before – that he studied at the university and it is also civil contribution. Not looking at details alone – the committee looks at the whole picture. Our impression from all the questions and answers, was that YBA was looking for his own comfort and interests.

MS: Looking for egoistical reasons, can be pacifist as well?

SS: We didn’t think this was so.

MS: What was your indication he was not a pacifist.

SS: Must consider the whole discussion. Including all the questions and answers. At the end we came to the conclusion that his presentation does not justify any exemption.

MS: Recall the opening of that committee session. Two days before the committee convened, there had been a terrorist attack at the Dolphinarium (June 1, 2001). Before the discussion you waved at him the newspaper headline.

SS: I asked him what he thought.

MS: YBA was given impression that he was wrong in his views, and he should denounce such actions. Do you remember the situation?

SS: No, I don’t. Maybe I showed him the newspaper.

MS: Explain to me the logic behind this question – what do you think of the last terrorist attack. Does he have to denounce terrorist attacks in the committee?

SS: No. As part of the whole discussion, if I thought he would have to denounce it I would have specifically asked him, ‘do you denounce it’? Our attempt, to verify and check belief of pacifists, and this is an example of a difficult question.

MS: So what is the logic? How does it help to get to truth, or is it to destabilize the applicant. Remind you that you have 18 – 19 year olds before you.

SS: We ask any question that we think in the committee, will help us to get to the truth of the intentions and beliefs of the applicants. YBA thinks that the State can exist with no army. Then you confront him with the realities by such questions. You ask him about incidents like this one, that had happened two days earlier.

MS: I asked you question, you didn’t answer. What is the logic behind this question? If he answered one way or the other, what would you conclude?.

SS: No criteria apply.

Prosecutor: It includes political views like serving in the occupied territories or not. Must include such questions.

MS: But you already know that he is not political, he is against any army.

SS: Any question contributes.

MS: The claim that the family has Palestinian friends. (question in the committee protocol) – how does this influence his pacifist ideas? How does it help them in verifying?

Prosecutor: Objects, this question was both in the protocol of the committee and in letter from family to committee. So they know it.

MS: Relevant to pacifism, fact that they have Palestinian friends?

How does this question help to get to conclusion?

Judge: Not remember all the details. I don’t remember what was written. ""Do you still have Palestinian friends ?""(reading from protocol).

MS: The answer was yes.

MS: (reading from committee protocol) - if you are a soldier, will it disturb you that you have Palestinian friends – and the answer of YBA (yes)? All this subject, what does it indicate regarding his frankness and truthfulness?

SS: It indicates general picture of the boy. Each line in itself is separate; not worth considering one question, but have total picture.

MS: Do you think he was frank in his answer about Palestinian friends, University, terrorist attacks?

SS: Yes, it appears he was honest about this. Our impression was that he was not fully honest about his readiness for civil service. He wanted to study.

MS: Civil service? There is no civil service. If there was YBA said he would have served and as there was not he wanted to study at University. The protocol is important.

90% of the questions in the protocol do not give any indication to the committee about truthfulness and frankness of claim of YBA’s pacifism. When entered in with 4% chance of success, left as other 96%.

SS: It is a fact that the committee refused him, most questions did not give them impression he was a true pacifist.

MS: What did you mean when you said in your decision that his opinions had not yet matured? Most of the questions did not consider pacifism, so how did you reach the conclusion that he is not a pacifist?

SS: We had the impression from everything that he said.

MS: A decision that cannot be explained is a bad decision so please explain your decision?

SS: Reached the conclusion from the way he expressed himself.

Judge: Please clarify because this is not answering the question.

What did you mean exactly by saying that his opinions were not yet matured?

SS: We had the impression from what he said. That he is not really a pacifist and that his opinions are not yet consistent.

Judge: What do you mean exactly that he was never a pacifist, just starting to be a pacifist. What do you mean?

SS: When we say his opinions are not yet matured, he was not able to fully explain why he is a pacifist.

MS: When YBA applied to your committee he had to sign a notarized document. That document/statement stated: ""I declare that for reasons of conscience I cannot serve in the army. I believe that the conflict cannot be resolved by war. …My belief in pacifism has become stronger after visiting the military graveyards in Verdun,France"".

Is this a person who cannot explain his pacifism?

SS: Yes.

MS: Perhaps he did not explain these things because you simply did not ask about his views. Only asked about his university studies and his Palestinian friends and what was the width of the country.

SS: As far as the committee is concerned this is the way we check these things.

MS: Give me an example.

SS: We asked him how his belief is reflected in everyday life, and he answered 'I am going to university'.

MS: Is this the question upon which you decided that he is not a pacifist?

SS: Every question provides a small part of the total picture.

MS: Did you read the notarized statement ?

SS: Yes.

MS: Do you think that the opinions expressed in this statement are not of a person who is fully matured in his beliefs?

SS: This decision is finally made by taking into account the letters, written statements, and anything else you bring before the committee.

MS: Your decision that you made about YBA does not relate to anything that he had actually presented to you. Did you consider asking him about his trip to France that was so important to him?

SS: We did not ask him-that's a fact. But I cannot say whether I thought about it or not.

Procedures/Precise Criteria (or lack thereof)

MS: What are the procedures of the committee? Specific criteria applied, timelines, when to convene, when to give answer, rights of person appearing before the committee, technical and detailed procedures?

SS: There is no procedure. Maybe I'm wrong, perhaps there are some internal instructions. But I'm not personally aware of any set of procedures as to how it works.

MS: is there something written regarding procedures as to how to deal with somebody?

SS: No, no written set of rules. We know what is expected of us.

MS: Of whom?

SS: Of the committee. We know what is needed for each case.

MS: I assume the same is true of the criteria the committee applies. There are no written rules.

SS: There are none. The committee members know what is expected of us, we deal with each case individually.

MS: As head of the committee, if you have no clear criteria, how do you come to conclusions?

SS: Before I started with the committee, I received instructions from my superiors, as to how to run the committee, and what is expected of the committee. What the spectrum of the decision-making is.

MS: You are against written criteria?

SS: I don't think it right to set criteria, to write them down.

MS: Describe the committee's decision-making.

SS: We first examine the essence of the request, its foundation. We distinguish between total objection and selective refusal. There is a third case of pretense.

MS: Committees with no written instructions, matters dealt with orally. What kind of training do members of the committee then go through? Everything is so subjective, arbitrary.

SS: Professionally, each representative has his/her training – legal, social, psychological, etc. We had some training for a few days.

MS: Tell us about the training.

SS: Had some lecturers, cannot recall whom.

MS: Some philosophers from academia?

SS: Cannot recall whom.

Colonel Simchi's knowledge:


MS: If somebody says God told me not to carry arms.

SS: If there is a person with religious objection it is not in my mandate.

Judge: If a person belongs to a Christian cult, preaching non violence. Will he come before this committee, even if there has not been a case like that?

SS: Perhaps. I wouldn't have him. Perhaps you would give one answer, and another committee chairman might think differently.

MS: do you think that the ultra orthodox (Jewish) exemption is a moral question?

SS: It is in the law.

MS: If not in the law and came to your committee, would you consider him as a pacifist?

SS: Would have served, if no law about ultra orthodox. But academic/theoretical issue.

Judge: No, it is not theoretical. Perhaps a case of an ultra orthodox who comes before you. If I am an ultra orthodox person and not within mainstream exemption and I come before you. I cannot serve in the army because of my views. Why not listen to him?

SS: There is the law of the ultra orthodox, if he is not within the mainstream laws then it means that he is not exempted.

Prosecutor: Special laws for him, and if not fall within those laws then not exempted.

Judge: Telling you – he is not included in the arrangement, but still he is ultra orthodox. Describes the religious details. So, not within organized orthodox system not recognized by the army?

SS: There is a recognized arrangement, if you have problem – solve your problem but not in our committee. Sometimes work together with the Rabbinate to find persons to serve. There's ultra orthodox group serving within the army.

MS: This is not the case, as this is voluntary. Ultra orthodox in the army are volunteering, it is not compulsory.

Judge: Interpreting answer of head of committee, ultra orthodox are not conscientious objectors and cannot appear before this committee.

Prosecutor: Arguing on this point.

MS: Your officers. They are not pacifists, because they are professionals. Want more details about the training. What are the subjects discussed. What is pacifism? What are different kinds of pacifism in Israel and abroad. What are relevant organisations?

SS: all the members of the committee took part in the training. There were two days in 2002.

MS: And before that? Because the last committee of YBA was in 2001. Any training before you went to the committee room?

SS: No.

MS: You have read literature re pacifism? Do the names John Rolls, Joseph Raz, Dworkin, mean anything to you?

SS: They are familiar. I read and went through quite a number of articles to get information and knowledge on the subject.

MS: Do you have any role model of the pacifist?

SS: No.

MS: An example of a pacifist?

SS: No. Maybe if I was interested in this – but I'm not so interested

MS: During the training you mentioned, have you heard of the connection between pacifism and anarchism?

SS: No.

MS: You said that you did not have one model for pacifism, but do you consider Martin Luther King as a pacifist?

SS: No.

MS: In the committee you have never met any pacifists, because

you have never exempted any pacifist before becoming a soldier.

SS: We have exempted reservists and soldiers, but never youngsters

like Yoni BA.

International/Women's data

MS: Do you know how similar committees work abroad? Have you learned from any other country's experience?

SS: No.

MS: If I said all other countries with committees have written criteria?

Judge: Witness does not know that.

SS: I would assume where there are written criteria, the committees are mandated by law.

MS: Problem, because you have no set of criteria and way of

working, the number of applicants is very small. How many applicants? 200 women to the women's committee and 20 men on average to your committee.

SS: Not know numbers. There is difference. Committee dealing with women is part of the legal system, is a civil committee.

MS: Why is there this difference?

SS: Good question, I don’t know.

MS: Numbers – how many applicants, how many exempted, how many not?

SS: No exact numbers.

MS: I have the numbers. In 8 years, from 1995 until 2003, there have been 148 applicants in the age of 18 years, only 9 exempted (of those 3 exempted this year), if we do not include 2003, 1995 – 2002 (7 years) 137 applicants, only 6 exemptions. 4.3% of applicants. 95% applicants were not exempted. Do you think this is normal?

SS: In my experience?

MS :Yes. What is the % of those applying to the committee, who actually get there?

SS: I think the majority.

MS: 95.7% were not exempted. How many were pretenders, how many selective COs?

SS: Not know.

MS: Do you have the data comparing to other countries . Where does Israel stand?

E.g. countries that respect COs, between 60% among the most severe where there is obligatory service. Based on reports of Amnesty Int., European organizations

(MS gives list of numbers. E.g., Germany – 95% exempted amongst total applicants. 130,000 in Germany in one year. Italy – civilian committee you can appear before. Between 90-97% of applicants exempted. In 1996, 47,000 exempted in one year alone. ).

Prosecutor: You are confusing the witness.

Judge: He is not confusing him because he (the witness) knows nothing about it.

SS: You have different people on the committee, with their own different experience. If he is a real pacifist he will be exempted. I do not compare this committee to the mental health committee.

I Think that we do not have to compare ourselves to other countries, we do not have to learn from other countries. I think it is irrelevant. We consider each person in turn. Why do I have to match myself to other country’s statistics?

MS - This is new here, why can we not learn from other countries?

SS: No. But maybe in the future. According to number of applicants, not something so big that we have to learn from the rest of the world.

MS: It is very small because the committee only allows 4% exemption and does not advertise it.

Prosecutor: Maybe not so many pacifists in Israel.

MS: Now consider women. Is there such a dramatic difference between men and women as regards pacifism? Is phenomenon of CO unique to women?

SS: It's a fact that it happens. I don't know the reason for the difference and I haven't done a research.

MS: Here are numbers I received from the army spokeperson.

2001 – 119 women, 97 were exempted. 81%. 18 appealed. Out of those 17 were exempted. 94% succeeded upon appeal. So it is the opposite to figures for men.

Reaction to the difference between the committees dealing with women and men?

SS: Not bother me. It's alright. Feel comfortable with that. No problem with it.

MS: You don't think your committee could learn something from the women’s committee?

SS: No. Even the Supreme Court decided our work was appropriate.

Experts (2 professors)

MS: Two professors submitted their opinions about YBA (Professor H. Ganz, philosopher of Law and Professor M. Har-Segor, historian, both of Tel Aviv University). What did they say?

SS: They supported the claim that he is a pacifist.

MS: Did you take these opinions into consideration?

SS: Because we could not bring them to ask them how they reached their conclusions, these opinions did not affect our decisions.

Judge: Could have said it was an external legal opinion?.

MS: YBA could only bring two witnesses?

SS: Yes. We read their opinions and took them into consideration but did not affect final decision.

MS: You did not actually refer to the opinions in the decision.

Judge: I don’t understand reason why you say that if you could not bring them you would not consider their views.

SS: Opinions were just paper. Not enough in order to give it weight.

Judge: Why didn’t you take that into consideration?

SS: To be frank, we are confident enough to make our own decisions.

Judge: The difference between the professors and the parents (who testified in the committee-MBA) is that the professors are impartial, and they reached different conclusions than you and they are experts. It is a standard procedure that when two experts disagree that they should at least mention it.

SS: Not fair if consider it only on the basis of a paper.

Since we did not ask questions of the witnesses we did not take it into consideration.

MS: So why did you quote in your decision the letter of YBA's brother who was away at the time in the US?

Judge: The brother can give personal experience but the professor is an expert, and therefore it is a very different thing.

SS: You compare the acquaintance of brothers to a meeting of an hour with a professor? We concluded that the basis of his refusal was not pacifism. Our committee was considered adequate, even by the Supreme Court.

Why does the committee exist?

MS: Why does the committee exist? What is the aim?

SS: It exists in order to deal with those who claim that they are COs, to check and determine whether they are truly COs.

MS: This is a technical answer. Why give exemptions to COs?

SS: There are some people who are really totally incapable of serving because of their beliefs.

MS: What does incapable mean? Cannot be forced?

SS: It is not my role. It is only my role to determine if his application is real, frank.

MS: Ok, but I asked why the State of Israel, or IDF , decided that it should exempt COs? Is it ""conscientious problem""?

SS: It is not Israel that decided to do so; It is by a decision of Commander of Manpower in IDF and he had to do so because there were applicants.

MS: Why? Not every application gets an answer from the State. Why in this case, the State decides to honor and respect conscientious objection?.

SS: No difference between these applicants and any others, for various other reasons, medical etc.. Different kinds of applications to be exempted.

MS: You didn’t answer my question. Why does the State respect this kind of application. You expect applicants to defend their beliefs. But you cannot answer my question why is this problem of COs being respected and being dealt with by the committee.

You told me that you differentiate between pretenders, pacificists and selective COs.

What about people who for political reasons decide not to serve. Why does the IDF decide to accept one claim of total CO and decides not to accept selective CO?

Why did IDF decide to respect pacifists?

SS: Repeat. I begin with authority of the committee. Authority is to give any kind of solution. The committee is an attempt to give right solution to each case. From exemption and up to total service. This is the reason why the committee was founded, to check claims and verify them and give solutions.

MS: For last time – when soldier is serving in the North, on the border, and we ask him why do you serve here, what is the purpose of your service? He can say to 'defend border', but main reason is to protect Israel. When I ask you reason for committee to be founded. Is there a bigger purpose? Is it technical just to give answer to applicants, or is there a value, a moral reason?

SS: Answer is the same. No change to answer.

Pacifism vs. Confrontation

(refers to second conscience committee, Nov. 27, 2001)

MS: In school he (YBA) said that there was violence, but he tried to avoid it as much as he could. Then the committee members said pacifism is ""non conflict"", and you often bring yourself into conflict on certain things, e.g. conflict with the administration. Do you stand behind those views, that if somebody goes against the system then he cannot be pacifist as he is in conflict?.

Prosecutor: This question was posed by a different committee member and not by the witness. The same committee member gave this argument to his lawyer.

MS: The prosecutor is interfering and putting words in his mouth.

Judge: Repeated question; do you agree with statement of the other committee member, that getting into conflict of any kind is against pacifism?

MS: Prosecutor interfered now it is easy for him to answer his question.

SS: If you expect me to explain why another member of the committee asks that question I cannot answer.

MS: This was not the question. Your views on the statement?

SS: We asked questions in order to have an idea about his opinions.

MS: Why did you describe him as a person who was not a pacifist?.

SS: A pacifist is a person who resolves things by peaceful means, not just by opposing things.

MS: So for you it is a parameter that if he gets in conflict with the system then he is not a pacifist.

SS: Every question is part of the whole picture, there was not one criterion that we applied to decide if he was a pacifist. There is no black and white.

MS: If a person is argumentative then this is an indication that he is not a pacifist?

SS: One of many indications.

MS; What about his parents describing him as a ""quiet and obedient boy"". Then he became concerned and complained when children used violence in school.

""Quiet and obedient"" is a sign of him being a pacifist?

SS: No.

MS: The committee said to him:""Your father and mother described your personality and it does not fit the personality of a pacifist"". So what is the personality of a pacifist?

SS: Pacifist has a way of settling disputes by negotiations and not by entering into conflicts.

MS: If he does not want to go to a school trip because he is unhappy with policies of the school (i.e., trip goes thru the West Bank-MBA), sign of ‘violent action’?

SS: More complicated than that.

MS: But it is true?

SS: The psychologist asked these questions. She was trying to give us an indication of his whole decision-making process.

MS: A person who struggles against the system, does that give you impression that he is not a ‘pacifist’, but just someone who cannot adjust?

SS: One needs to see the whole picture. When we made our decision, we thought that the motive behind YBA's refusal was not pacifism but difficulty to adjust to various systems.

MS: In your decision you give two reasons: He does not adjust to systems and secondly, he just wants his convenience(i.e. to get out of military service and study).

There was a demonstration against religious enforcement in politics, he refused to go, because the school let them out earlier and he did not like this. Apparent contradiction, because he is also against religious enforcement. Is this what you call ""argumentative"" which does not fit a pacifist?

SS: It's more complicated than this.

MS: But he explained that he did not go to the demonstration because it was organized by the school.

Judge: the contradiction is in the fact…

MS: Does the demonstration have anything to do with pacifism?

SS: This and other events helped us to conclude that he does not like authority.

MS: You asked YBA about paying taxes, is it OK not to pay for reasons of conscience, and he replied you should look at each case individually; you replied this means he has trouble accepting authority.

SS: Yes, we see this objection to authority in all his actions.

MS: In the conclusion you stated that he is argumentative – and this was a crucial thing in deciding.

SS: You already see the reply in the committee's decision

MS: Did you ask YBA when he became a pacifist? If you had asked you would have been told it started about 11th Grade, and it was a gradual process, from the time he was in France. And yet you quote him in a school paper he did, on the French Revolution. Do you know when this school paper was written?

SS: It was written in the 9th Grade. YBA chose to present this paper.

MS: But he brought all these assignments to cope with the accusation that his beliefs are not mature.

SS: He chose to bring the statement to strengthen his case so we could use it.

MS: YBA presented the situation of the battle that took place in the 1st WW. And you claim (in your decision) that he refused to take into account the whole consequences of the war and only this one battle. What exactly is this claim based upon?

SS: I don't remember, maybe in the body of the paper.

Yoni does not believe in what he believes he believes

MS: YBA said that if he had just wanted to be exempted he could have gone to the mental health officer, but had principles. You agree he would have had a better chance if he had gone to a mental health officer?.

SS: Not see a connection between the two things. I believe YBA actually believes himself that he is a pacifist.

MS: You just said that you believe that YBA believes he is a pacifist.

What else do you need? How do you see the job of the committee?

SS: Purpose of committee is to see if you are a pacifist or not.

MS: Person who believes he is a pacifist is not necessarily a pacifist?

SS: Yes, there are proofs of people who come to the committee, claim they are pacifists and when rejected say 'I tried'…YBA, by my understanding, isn't in this group. He sees all his actions thru pacifism.

MS: Perhaps he was honest with you and told you what he thought he was, but the committee looked at his story and thought he was not lying but was just mistaken?

SS: Yes. We did not identify true pacifism in his views.

MS: It is somewhat paternalistic. A person comes to you and you say 'I know better than you what you really feel'.

SS: I have no comment.

MS: Another claim – the fact that he is acting for his own interests does not contradict his pacifism, would you agree with that?

SS: This is his subjective view.

Judge: I understand that you don’t consider him to be a liar.

SS: We believed that he was not trying to lie to us.

MS: Now we are more than a year past all of that. You know he has been more than 200 days in prison. He was offered after his 6th sentence to serve in a hospital. Without arms or uniform. But he would have to be enlisted as a soldier. He refused. Explain why is he doing that?

SS: I think we already discussed this in section 3 of our decision.

MS: If he is acting of reasons of personal convenience you'd agree that it is a strange way of ensuring your ‘convenience’.

SS: Maybe, but he is not motivated by pacifism.

Judge: You said that he is not fit to be in a system.

SS: No, we did not say that.

Judge: You say that he is not fit to adjust to systems and therefore is not fit to be in the army?. What happens to a person who is not fit to serve in the army but does not have mental problems or physical problems?

SS: We in the committee deal with whether a person is a pacifist or not a pacifist.

MS:You say the motive for his actions was personal convenience?

SS: I do not see him as a liar. He presented to the committee the things as he saw them and interpreted them as pacifism. We decided that the basis of his actions was his inability to adjust.

Judge: You decided that very serious people said that he has problems adjusting to systems?

SS: No, but that he is motivated by such problems.

MS: You might agree that 200 days in prison, he does not have problems adjusting to systems.

SS: The fact that you went to prison does not mean you do not have problems adjusting to systems. He had no choice.

MS: Both your claims re not adjusting and only seeking personal convenience have proven wrong as he remained in prison 200 days.

SS: I don’t agree with that.

Prosecutor: Been to three CO committee sessions and chances they are wrong are negligible.

Judge: The first committee only said that his decisions are not mature, did not reject him.

Prosecutor: First committee rejected his grounds.

MS: Do you think it was right after 200 days in prison and after all the offers that he refused, that if he came to the committee you'd hear him again?

SS: In my opinion no.

Judge: I do not understand answer. The question is: You reach conclusion on certain grounds, and after two years, isn’t it right to open up a discussion again?.

SS: No. We're undermining the basis of the first committees and their decisions.

Prosecutor: Could be that YBA came to your committee and asked for exemption and you decided that the real reason was simply because he wanted to study at the university, that military service is a waste of time?

SS: Absolutely, explicitly.

Prosecutor: In fact, is it true that your impression was that YBA refuses to accept any authoritative system?

SS: He is not ready to accept dictations.

Prosecutor: The committee thought that YBA thought, in some declarative manner, that he was a pacifist, that's what he thought.

SS: True.

Prosecutor: But what really motivated him, what he really is, he is not a pacifist but wants exemption from authoritative system for personal convenience?

SS: Right.

Prosecutor: If I were to tell you that YBA believed he would only sit 90 days in prison and then be released and win his exemption easily – you believe this?

SS: Probably so, because this was what people coming to the committee believed in.

Prosecutor:.Maybe it is more glamorous to be exempted on reasons of conscience.

SS: Yes, very probable. To be the ""leader of the camp"".

Prosecutor: The committee was attacked by YBA in the Supreme Court where all these claims were submitted. And the SC listened to all of that, and still found the decision right.

MS: That is not what they found in the decision. I believe you do not take back your statement that YBA believes he is a pacifist.

SS: I believe that YBA interprets things that happen to him in pacifist eyes.

MS: You believe YBA that he believes he is a pacifist.

SS: Yes, I believe him

MS: And that he is against all war.

SS: I believe he interprets things in eyes of a pacifist. Everything that happened to him in school, when he looks back, he interprets as acts of pacifism.

Judge: All the things in life are interpreted by YBA as pacifism?

MS: You think that YBA does not know what is pacifism?

SS: YBA understands.

MS: So you believe him. Maybe he is wrong, but that's what he believes he is?

SS: Yes.

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